I got my oil change today and when I went to pick the car up they recommended a "Brake Fluid Flush." The showed me a strip of paper the changed color (looked very much like a litmus (sp?) test that you do in school to test to Ph balance of a food. Is this a needed maintenance item? Has anyone every heard of this? They quoted a price of $89.95 (as if that sound cheaper than $90) for the service. While cheeping in mind that I cannot even do minor nechanical repairs on the car myself, is this something I should have them do? or should I try and conquer this myself?
After all, it does deal with the brakes and I am scared to do a brake job myself without someone standing over my shoulder inspecting everything I do (which I don't have.) Should I do something like this? After all, my life depends on it!
According to the 2001 factory manual, this job has to be done only when the brake fluid has been contaminated by solids or liquids that shouldn't be there. The appear- ance of the brake fluid has to be checked. Don't rely on the litmus paper test. To take care of a brake job, you have to be either a pro or a very, VERY good DIY.
How do I know if my fluid has been contaminated? Can I tell somehow? To my knowledge, it has not. Jest had a brake job a few moths ago. I saw them pour in new fluid (they poured it in from a coke bottle) could that be the "contaminination."
erw38....To check the appearance of the brake fluid, take off the top of the master cylinder, and look at the brake fluid. It should be a very dark brown. If you see any sort of discoloration or cloudiness, that would mean chemical contamination from either moisture or the wrong type of brake fluid. If there are any particles floating around, that would come from any mechanical trouble in the hydraulic part of the braking system.
Fluid changes..........I don't trust anyone and can't justify the cost. I syphon out the fluids from my brake master cylinder and from the power steering reservoirs. I do this 2, maybe 3 times after running the car for a day or so. Very easy and inexpensive.
Siphon, yes....I use a siphon you can get anywhere for like siphoning out fuel. Works real well. I've never had a problem with getting air in the systems. I've done this many times on many vehicles without incident!
Be careful if you siphon the master cylinder. If you get air in it you will have to bleed the brakes (which is the best way to change the fluid anyway).
If you got brakes done, they usually need to remove fluid, not add it. As you press the calipers in to accomodate the new, thicker pads, the fluid will push back into the master cylinder. Then, as they wear, the fluid level will slowly drop.
I would flush it if it were a dark brown. Brake fluid will be a very clear light brown when new. It will absorb moisture over time like any hydraulic fluid, which I believe is what makes it darken. If it gets a lot of water, it will turn cloudy.
Bleeding your brakes to change the fluid will also remove any small possible bits of air that may have seeped into the system over time (nothing is ever sealed completely and 100%).
It's up to you, though. It's certainly not a necessity. $90 isn't all that expensive, though.